Y-Combinator backed Auro Robotics, an autonomous vehicle campus shuttle service, has announced that it has raised $2 million in a fresh funding round led by Motus Ventures along with the support of Rothenberg Ventures.
The newly raised capital will help company to roll out autonomous vehicle campus shuttle services at a major American university later this year. This will be marked as one of the most advanced deployments of self-driving cars to date, the company claimed in a statement.
Nalin Gupta, CEO of Auro Robotics, said,
The time is now for self-driving shuttles. Motus Ventures provides us with unparalleled industry expertise and connections to help us scale autonomy in the automotive market right away. With their help, we will apply ongoing technology advancements to bring the extensive benefits of self-driving transportation to many more campuses and beyond.
The California-based startup was founded in around three years ago by Nalin Gupta, Jit Ray Chowdhury and Srinivas Reddy. The company has been a part of IIT Kharagpur Robotics Research Group, CMU’s Robotics Institute and Y-Combinator.
While most automobile and technology companies are focusing on automating passenger cars and urban mobility, Auro Robotics is focusing on niche category of last mile public transportation.
The idea behind Auro Robotics is to cut down the operating cost by replacing manually driven golf carts and mini buses with driverless shuttles at places such as a university or company campus, large industrial sites, airports, etc.
In June 2014, the company received seed funding from IIT Kharagpur and also go enrolled into its incubation center. In September 2014, it received grant from DSIR, Govt. of India, for development and commercialization of technology.
Auro Robotics provides complete package of technology system, including proprietary software molded to the unique needs of the location, to ensure safe and reliable autonomous transportation that promises to reduce parking congestion, facilitate mobility. It claims to improve campus security and reduce operating costs up to 60 percent.
The platform combines vehicles and a software platform to overcome challenges of maneuvering safely among erratic traffic flow, heavy crowds, bad weather and imprecise GPS.
All the robots of the company comes with a multi-sensor system for detecting ground-level obstacles. The software creates a three-dimensional map of the environments they’re deploying the shuttles in, so that the vehicles can be as responsive and aware of their surroundings as possible. The software also includes motion-planning and smart vehicle-pedestrian interaction system.
Auro Robotics is also providing a mobile application for on-demand shuttle scheduling and tracking, as well as cloud-based fleet management and scheduling software.
While the company is currently operating a pilot service at Santa Clara University, it is also planning to expand to other markets like amusement parks, retirement communities and small islands soon.
Jim DiSanto, managing partner at Motus Ventures, said,
Private campuses are an ideal springboard toward a world of fully automated vehicles. Operating at lower speeds, free of complex government regulations, with the right technologies we can go completely driverless today versus in nine years, as projected for public transportation. We’ve seen strong demand for around-the-clock autonomous shuttle services on college and corporate campuses, military bases and retirement communities, and Auro Robotics is in a strong position to lead the way in unlocking the market.